District 10 Justice of the Peace Bobby Quattlebaum has served on the White County Quorum Court for 16 years and has “another project” he would like to see completed before he leaves.
The 75-year-old is running for re-election against Roger Pearson in the May 24 Republican primary. The winner will face Democrat Mary Jane Parks in the November general election.
When asked why he was running for another term, Quattlebaum said, “We’ve done a number of things since I’ve been on the Quorum Court, like [county cooperative] expansion building there [next to the fairgrounds]. I think we have something here that anyone in the county should be proud of.
“Then the property we bought, they call it the J-Mar property over there. [on Taylor Road], and how we use it. I mean, make very good use of it. You walk past and all you see are metal shop buildings but what you don’t know is that one of them has a 911 center and it will have value by itself, stuff like that.
Then he mentioned “another project that I want to see completed, and that is the construction of new courts there [on Benton Street]… and it will be done in the next two [years]and it will be time for me to go home.
The three-story, 31,755-square-foot building project has an estimated cost of between $9.5 million and $11 million. It would house courtrooms on each floor and administrative offices for the county’s three circuit judges.
Having spent 26 years in business on his own, Quattlebaum said he knows “what a dollar is worth.”
“I have an advantage over a lot of people,” he said. “They’ve signed checks all their lives on the back. You know, they endorsed a check and they may have won it, but for 26 years I signed my checks on the front instead of the back.
He said that in dealing with financial matters as a justice of the peace, Quattlebaum said, “I want to spend it as I would myself, as I want it spent, as if it came out of my poached. In fact, it is.”
He cited the fact that he had lived for 52 years in the same house “that we built” as an example of his spending mindset. But added that when he looks around Searcy he sees a lot of “coming soon”. panels.”
“In my view, the money is there, but it’s just not being spent properly,” he said. “My years in business, I think, have taught me – and all my training in terms of where I grew up and all that kind of stuff shows me – what a dollar is worth. learned very quickly if you have a quarter in your pocket, you can’t spend a dollar.
“I started making my own money when I was 9, picking strawberries and wild plums, muscadines and peanuts to pick. We harvested a lot of peanuts when I was growing up. We had our own chores to do. do around the place, but anything else we did, we kept it and it was ours.
Even at age 9, Quattlebaum said he wasn’t afraid to work hard. He said he remembered when his older brother worked at WW Ford, when Quattlebaum was 9, and he dropped him “at the bottom of Joy Mountain in a strawberry field there. I was picking strawberries and there were always people from Joy coming to pick and I would go home with them when they were done picking.
He said he would get $4 a bushel selling peanuts and it would take 22 pounds of dry peanuts to make a bushel. He also earned “a few bucks for a gallon of blackberries”.
When he grew up a bit, “I was carrying furniture.”
“I took my first trip to Little Rock to pick up a bunch of furniture with my cousin when I was 14,” Quattlebaum said. “We were in a different world than the one we find ourselves in now, but it’s just as dangerous then as it is now.”
Even with his hobby, Quattlebaum seems to be all about business. “There for a while I was collecting bric-a-brac – flea market stuff and I was buying to resell and go to auction and things like that – but the bottom fell off the market at the moment. there is no market for that.
In addition to his business background, Quattlebaum campaigns to be “strong on law enforcement, county roads, veterans affairs, the whole county. [and] industrial development.” His campaign card states that he is “a proud veteran of the Vietnam era, 1966-1970, fiscal and social conservative, and founding member of Westview Missionary Baptist Church.”